Life in Lincoln
Explore one of the best college towns in the country
One night during my first year here I was sitting in my room watching a movie for probably the sixth or seventh time, and I felt very restless and ready to try new things. My roommate and I got up and went to the Haymarket area. We walked around taking in all the different things to do there. After that experience I kept prompting us to try new things. Looking back, I’m glad we took the initiative to start exploring Lincoln.
Doing things around Lincoln with my friends has definitely gotten me out of my comfort zone. Because I can be a home-body sometimes, I wasn’t always willing to try new things in high school. My mom would always tell me that growth happens outside your comfort zone, which I’ve tried to live by. Coming to college and to Lincoln, there have been so many opportunities for me to step out of that comfort zone.
If I really am feeling extroverted and outgoing, maybe I’ll go to a Husker sporting event—those are exciting, just being in a big crowd of people. Sometimes I’ll go to a concert. I love music and there are several venues in Lincoln where major acts play. The Haymarket area in general is really fun, especially when it's nicer outside, and when they have the farmers’ market. The Sunken Gardens are gorgeous! I like visiting all the different little coffee shops too. I have some friends who are really into the First Fridays at the Sheldon Art Gallery and the other galleries downtown. There is so much to do.
I’ve gotten more comfortable doing things on my own. There’s a song that I love, and I figured out it was from a musical that was coming right here to the Lied Center. I quickly went online and got my free ticket from The Arts for All program.
I went to that musical and sat by myself. A nice elderly lady sat next to me and we had a fun conversation. It was something that I definitely wouldn't have done in high school. I'd have been too afraid of what people would think of me if they saw me in public alone. Learning to do things on my own gave me newfound independence that was pivotal in my college career.
It’s so easy to get caught up in doing the on-campus things, but even just a couple of steps off of campus you’ll find unique coffee shops you never realized were there. Just by driving around Lincoln you’ll discover different sides of it you didn’t know were there. I’ll hop in my car sometimes and go exploring. One of my favorite places is Virginia’s Café, a little mom and pop diner.
When you create the space to spark conversations and talk to people who you normally wouldn’t interact with, and go places you might not normally go, that’s where you grow as a person. Getting to hang out with people who are so much different from me has kept me going to new places around Lincoln.
I was wanting to get more involved in giving back to the Lincoln community this year. I met a woman downtown and we ended up talking about how she volunteers at the Matt Talbot Community Kitchen and Outreach Center which has lots of different outreach programs. I got in contact with someone there and now I help teach a cooking class for adults with special needs. It’s been so fun, but it's definitely something that I didn't expect myself to be doing in college.
I felt a little bit limited in high school. You have your parents there and you have the people that you've always gone to high school with. In college it’s so different, there’s so much more to do. My hometown was great, but here in Lincoln, there are so many things to do just for college students. I think Lincoln has done an impeccable job of making this such a good college city.
People have this perception of Nebraska, that it’s all cornfields and cows everywhere you go. And, yes, that is what parts of Nebraska are like. That's not what Nebraska is as a whole. There are so many different parts that go into it—there are rural parts, but then there are great cities like Lincoln where they have incorporated so many different things to do.
You just have to be the one that takes initiative to go out and find those experiences. There are flyers everywhere. You can even get text message alerts for local events. You just have to be the one to invest your time into getting these new experiences. So many people want to have a very fruitful experience in college, but then they don't get out there. They don't search for those events that they're passionate about, or that might make them uncomfortable. If you want to be busy, if you want to have like experiences like that, the opportunities are there. You have to be the one that gets out there and tries them.